The oddball paradigm allows presenting listeners with deviant stimuli in a background of standard stimuli, which processing elicits an early negativity in the context. The total experiment duration was 23 mns, in one single block. However, diverse studies point out systematic use of IA in prosodic structure marking and speech segmentation. Finally, this paradigm will also be extended to FA processing to address the potential similar role of IA and FA in French prosodic phonology. The Metrical Segmentation Strategy  states that the mental lexicon is accessed through pre-lexical, language-specific stress templates.
The participants were divided into two groups according to the Oddball version presented see Figure 2: Other results using the oddball paradigm allow investigation of short-term and long- term memory processing of stress patterns, through the MisMatch Negativity ERP component [19; 20; 21]. It is thus interesting to further investigate whether IA is encoded at some level of the linguistic representation. By manipulating presence or absence of IA on words, our experiment is designed to test 1 whether French listeners can perceive and discriminate IA acoustical low-level processing or salience discrimination , and 2 whether IA is encoded at the word-level phonological, higher cognitive level or stress template processing. The total experiment duration was 23 mns, in one single block. Finding neural bases for IA processing in French would give further insights as to its phonological role in French. This study is, to our knowledge, the first investigation of stress pattern processing in French using the oddball paradigm. The MMN is a measure of the rarity of a stimulus in a context. Namely, IA very commonly marks lexical words inside larger prosodic units, more so than FA, and is a marker of left prosodic boundaries even when in close vicinity to FA and not rhythmically necessary. Indeed, lexically congruent words in the sentence elicited a larger N component when metrically incongruent, indicating that French listeners do have pre-lexical stress template representations . It may be that -IA patterns are not expected stress patterns and elicit a negativity wave even when presented as standards. This effect is emphasized by linguistic experience of phonological representations in the native language, i. Finally, this paradigm will also be extended to FA processing to address the potential similar role of IA and FA in French prosodic phonology. The data were analysed using Brain Vision Analyser software version 2. Hence, results can be interpreted independently from other linguistic levels. Altogether, our results indicate that French listeners not only discriminate stress patterns but that IA is encoded in long-term memory, hence phonologically relevant. The EEG was recorded in both a passive and an active listening task, and in two different oddball versions: Task order was not randomized throughout participants because doing the Active task before would have drawn attention to our stress manipulation. Traditionally, descriptions of the French accentuation system account for a primary Final Accent FA co-occurring with intonational boundaries, and a secondary, optional Initial Accent IA , essentially seen as an extra- metrical phenomenon [1; 2; 5]. Trials were averaged within each of the two stress conditions. In French, violation of metrical patterns induced by artificial lengthening of the medial syllable in trisyllabic words induced delayed lexical decision. Very few studies have to date investigated the neural bases of accentuation, and mostly do so through the exploration of Event-Related Potential ERP components. Trials containing ocular artefacts, movement artefacts, or amplifier saturation were corrected from averaged ERP waveforms. In our study, participants were also submitted to an active version of the task in order to enrich the electrophysiological investigation with behavioral data. It aims at evaluating whether French listeners can perceive and discriminate the Initial Accent IA and whether IA is encoded in the phonological representation. Subject-averages were aligned to the ms baseline preceding the auditory target. On the contrary, our results not only indicate that listeners process saliency differences but that they have a preferred stress pattern.
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